March 18 – 29
At Tower City
Only CIFF members can login. Join now for enhanced web features, discounts and dibs on tickets, advanced mailings and more!join
Events + Updates
Run Time: 81 minutes
Saunas are ubiquitous in Finland. But unlike here, they don't just relax weekend athletes after brisk workouts at the gym. They're part of the fabric of life, as integral to the Finnish landscape as crystal-clear lakes and snowy pine forests. Saunas pop up everywhere in this film, from retrofitted campers to phone booths. The sauna is a clean, ascetic place, akin to a monk's cell. As scores of stereotypically taciturn Finnish men bare their bodies and their souls, STEAM OF LIFE examines the cathartic nature of the cleansing process. Filmmaker Mika Hotakainen posted notices all over Finland that he was looking for men willing to release their emotions on-camera, and the response was overwhelming. Sitting sweating and naked beside one another, friends and strangers reveal their hopes, fears, and moments of anguish, often aided and abetted by copious amounts of cold beer. The men tell painful stories of children and marriages, custody battles, haunting accidents, dreams for their grandchildren, prison, and drink. Alternately funny and emotionally raw, STEAM OF LIFE was the first documentary to be entered by Finland for the Oscars®. (In Finnish with subtitles). –B.B.
Mika Hotakainen, Joonas Berghäll
Nicolas Duval-Adassovsky, Laurent Zeitoun, Yann Zenou
Olivier Nakache, Éric Toledano
François Cluzet, Omar Sy
Joonas Berghäll graduated from the Tampere School of Art and Media. He has worked as a producer at the Oktober production company for several years. Mika Hotakainen graduated from the Helsinki Polytechnic University, Stadia. He has worked in film and TV since 1998.
STEAM OF LIFE (2010)